Long-term deformation in the southern Rio Grande Rift as inferred from topographic and uplifted terraces

Linda Kay Armour, University of Texas at El Paso


This study examines Basin and Range topography relating tectonic processes to topographic features. The observation that the terraces along either side of the Franklin Mountains were deformed and uplifted is a reflection of tectonic uplift. The uplift represents long-term deformation of the range. This led to the question of what shapes the deformation and does it represent differential subsidence into the Río Grande Rift or true uplift. A more regional study of the Sacramento, San Andres, and Guadalupe Mountains follows. Two papers form this dissertation. ^ The Río Grande Rift and the Franklin Mountains, in particular, are the subject of the second chapter. The indication for tectonic uplift is the terraces along the flanks of the Franklin Mountains mimicking the curve along the crest of the range. ^ In light of the results from the Franklin Mountains, Chapter three examines the Sacramento, San Andres, and Guadalupe Mountains. Location data were converted to UTM Zone 13 measurements then long-wavelength elevation changes were modeled by use of transects drawn from digital elevation models (DEM) at 15 minute intervals between the Pecos River of Eastern New Mexico across to Arizona on the west. A 2nd order polynomial was fit across the transects then a map was constructed based on the polynomials. The three modeled ranges are among those that show uplift above the smoothed surface. Furthermore, the ranges all exhibit arcuate crests implying a similar origin. The gravity map between 31° N, -104° W was multiplied by the inverse of elevation to emphasize the correlation between elevation and subsidence into the rift basin^

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Recommended Citation

Armour, Linda Kay, "Long-term deformation in the southern Rio Grande Rift as inferred from topographic and uplifted terraces" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3682450.